Where Things Stand: Warnings From The Outside
This is your TPM mid-morning briefing.
on January 31, 2017 in Washington, DC.

In the past 24 hours, two ex officials — both ousted by the mercurial Trump — have spoken out against the administration for actions that prompted his impeachment– former White House chief of staff John Kelly and the ex-ambassador and impeachment witness Marie Yavonovitch.

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Where Things Stand: Echoes Of Obstruction
This is your TPM early afternoon briefing.

The debate over whether President Trump pressured the attorney general to shorten his former associate Roger Stone’s sentencing recommendation or if the Justice Department acted on its own is missing the point. This is all bad.

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Stone Debacle Takes Fears About Trump Influencing Mueller Probe To Next Level

Remember the all-consuming panic that President Trump would exert political influence on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe?

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The Billionaire Question

From TPM Reader AL

I completely agree that Bloomberg’s ads are very persuasive. I also feel something is missing from the discussion on your blog. If we have a billionaire nominee because that person was the best individual in the primary, well so be it. I would prefer if the nominee was not a billionaire, but in that situation the best candidate won and I certainly don’t think billionaires should be barred from running.
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Readers Respond on the Rise of Bloomberg

TPM Reader BB on the rise of Bloomberg and the impatience to go after Trump …

Just wanted to respond to this, because it SO accurately describes my experience:

Quoting from this Editors’ Blog post: “Bloomberg’s ads ignore the entire primary process. They focus on Bloomberg himself and increasingly on bashing Donald Trump. I see them a lot on social media. They’re good. Even if you’re a Sanders supporter you’d think they’re good, even if you despise Bloomberg. For a lot of Democrats right now, watching the primaries unfold is highly dispiriting. Bloomberg is already running against Trump, running ads that land hard punches on Trump. If you’re a Democrat, the Democratic primary race is exhausting and demoralizing and the ads bashing Trump get you pumped – just because a lot of Democrats are so focused on driving Trump from office and want to get on to running against him.”

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Exhaustion and Impatience

Usually I publish single emails. But in this case I asked for a follow up with TPM Reader LS

Josh, your next-to-last paragraph REALLY speaks for me (except I’m not supporting Bloomberg, just FYI). I just DGAF, especially after the impeachment farce last week. All the debates and primaries seem like worthless folderol. For me, the primaries are over. I just want to get on with beating this cancer of a human being and ending his crime spree masquerading as an administration once and for all.

I replied …

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An Ex-Bernie Supporter’s Perspective

From TPM Reader EC

An ex Bernie supporters perspective.
A little background:

I lived in Vermont for over 25 years.
My wife is a Vermonter and my 2 kids where born there.
I love and miss Vermont (not the weather).

I would imagine I have voted for Bernie more than almost anyone not living in Vermont including for Mayor, 8 Congressional races and once for Senate.

I made calls, knocked on doors and catered fundraisers, most memorably an event at Ben Cohen’s house for Bernie & Max Cleland. I think during the 2002 cycle.

Win or lose I’m very concerned about Bernie.

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A Reply to EW …

From TPM Reader JB

With all due respect to Reader EW, all I can say is “Really?”

I don’t know what country he/she is in, but this well-described set of policy preferences put into perspective of other nations and their leaders is never going to come up in an American Presidential election. These kinds of conversations happen amongst those who are interested in politics, read a lot, and have enough gumption to go deep. That is not the American public.

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Unfair and Dead Wrong

Vermonter and TPM Reader EW begs to disagree

I think the coverage of Bernie is not just unfair, but dead wrong. I don’t just mean Bret Stephens who is lying when he compares Bernie’s socialism to the Soviet Union. The model has always been, for Bernie, the Nordics and next door neighbor Canada and others. His proposals actually put him to the right of government policies in those countries and others including New Zealand, the Netherlands and others. He is not more left wing than the leaders of most European Social Democratic parties. Even parties to the right of Social Democrats support universal health care systems state controlled or managed.

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Waiting for Blooms

TPM Reader EH is a long, long time reader and frequent emailer …

As a Warren supporter who has watched her make too many political mistakes, not turn into an effective Bernie blocker, and seen her organizational competence which should have been a key strength get trashed with the Nevada walkout I’m actively looking for the next thing.

Recognizing there’s no perfect candidate, everyone left in the primaries feels high risk but Bloomberg’s commercials are hitting some sweet notes. Is he the bigger, badder New Yorker we need? Policy history aside, if he and Trump are on a stage together who owns the room? Would it be the real business guy, the real rich guy?

Would love to hear some NY perspectives.

Fretting About Sanders

TPM Reader RS is an anti-Sanders voter …

Thanks as always for the series of reader reaction posts this evening – they, together with your “Is There a Path to Post-Primary Unity?” post from a few days ago have been helping me think through the situation.

To put my cards on the table, I’m definitely an anti-Sanders voter. I’ll absolutely vote for and support the Democratic nominee in the general, whoever that ends up being — although my vote is itself irrelevant here in NYC — but there’s almost no serious Democratic candidate this cycle who I’d less like to end up winning the nomination. (I’d rank Gabbard, Steyer, Yang, and Williamson below him, but I’m not sure any of those were actually “serious” even though they debate-qualified; I’m genuinely torn over Bloomberg for other reasons.)
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Responses to TPM Reader MRK, Part 2

TPM Reader RD responds to TPM Reader MRK

I just read “Thoughts Before Canvassing” from MRK, and thought I’d respond. I like Elizabeth Warren a lot. She’s my home state senator, and I’ve donated to both her senatorial campaign before I even lived in Mass, and to her 2020 presidential campaign. I think she’s the smartest person in the race, but I have concluded that she’s not best positions to succeed in the general. Here’s why:
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Where Things Stand: Giuliani’s Direct Line To The DOJ
This is your TPM mid-morning briefing.

Over the weekend, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) made a rather sinister admission on live television, casually alluding that the dirt-digging campaign on the Biden family is far from over.

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A Brief for New Hampshire

TPM Reader JS makes his case for New Hampshire …

My name is John Shappy and I live in Milford, NH. This morning I got up and had to run some errands around the Nashua, NH area. On my way I passed by a house that was hosting a house party for Amy Klobuchar. A few minutes down the road in Nashua I came upon Bill Weld and his travel vehicle. On any day leading up to and including the week before the primary If you want access to a Presidential candidate they are anywhere in the state. I have been a labor organizer and have met most of the candidates that I have had an interest in voting for. I have this access because I live in a state that holds the first primary.

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A Brief for Bernie

TPM Reader NS states his case …

You said it yourself the other day (paraphrasing)—you are having a hard time believing what objective analysis of the evidence tells you: Sanders is truly viable all the way to the presidency.
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A Contrary View on Party Unity

TPM Reader NZ has a contrary take on the party unity question …

I am a loyal reader (and member) and generally find your analysis compelling, even if I don’t entirely agree. I’m prompted to write by your “post-primary unity” piece. I thought it was balanced and insightful until the last paragraph. But then I think you went off the rails in a way that replicates some of the frustrating asymmetry in how people often discuss the pro/anti- Bernie camps.
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Responses to TPM Reader MRK

TPM Reader CGM responds to TPM Reader MRK

I’ve been thinking about some version of this since the first debate. But MRK’s take on Warren made me want to write in and respond.

Some defensive posturing: I am a feminist. I went to an all-girls high school where I was taught women can do anything men can do, backwards and in heels etc. I would love nothing more than to see a woman elected president. But I am terrified about nominating a woman against Trump.

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Thoughts Before Canvassing

TPM Reader MRK shares some thoughts before heading off to canvass in New Hampshire …

I’ve been trying to figure out why (other than systemic sexism) the media reaction to Elizabeth Warren’s campaign has been muted, especially since she finished ahead of Biden in Iowa. She didn’t over-perform and she didn’t underperform there, really. She should have been able to lay claim to the proverbial third ticket out of Iowa. Biden clearly did underperform, and if it weren’t for his consistently strong polling elsewhere, there would be real pressure on him to quit. But he’s a former VP with strong support from African Americans in the polls, et cetera.
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Are We Trapped in Trumpian DNA?

I have a long list of quibbles what with TPM Reader PJ shares here — mainly on conflating two very different meanings of “liberalism” and I think giving too little significance to the coalitional nature of the Democratic Party. But I wanted to share it with you because it’s a good contribution to the conversation …

I appreciate what you’re saying about the far left and liberalism. let me offer a bit of a counterpoint. I think there are some people who read Trump as an expression of something highly American. Maybe not intrinsically American, per se, but something that’s mixed in the DNA and which often takes over: white supremacy, masculinist fantasies of domination, an erotic fascination with violence. Moreover, we know where the roots of liberalism are: John Locke, contract theory, a social imagination that puts the individual at the center of the social world and struggles to understand that personhood is constantly being constructed, rather than etched in stone by a Maker.

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Klobuchar’s Night?

TPM Reader RW thought it was Klobuchar’s night …

I’m an undecided New Hampshire democrat–at least I was until tonight. I attended the MSNBC watch party and thought Klobuchar hit it out of the park (and so did most of the crowd). I’ve seen most of the candidates during their swings through the state, many in intimate settings. For weeks my wife and I have been agonizing about whom to support.
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A Party Switch

An update from the New York suburbs from TPM Reader FB

Tonight, a Republican County Legislator in Westchester County New York, David Tubiolo from Yonkers, switched parties and became a Democrat. This left the 17-member Westchester County Board of Legislators, which as recently as 3 years ago had a Republican coalition majority and arch-conservative County Executive, with NO REPUBLICANS. The sole remaining member of the minority caucus is a registered Conservative from the town of Mt. Pleasant.
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A Bizarre, Often Dark Week In Review Prime Badge
Is There a Path to Post-Primary Unity?

I had thought the intra-Democratic divisions this year couldn’t help but be less than 2016. Divisions usually come more to the surface when a party has had a decent run in power. They’re not as hungry for the presidency. The risks of its loss are less palpable. There’s more focus on reordering who the dominant party faction is. The crisis of President Trump you would think would concentrate people’s minds. And indeed poll after poll shows just that: overwhelmingly Democrats want whoever can beat Trump.

But that’s not how it’s looking.

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